The Gospel Trail
Over two thousand years ago, Jesus left his home in Nazareth and embarked on an arduous journey. He eventually arrived at the lake side fishing village of Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee. Throughout the course of his journey, he performed various miracles along the way.
In 2007, Maoz Inon, a Jewish Israeli entrepreneur teamed up with David Landis, a Christian American hiking specialist to re-establish the route traversed by the Son of God years ago.
Today, this 40 mile (64 km) long trail, commonly known as the ‘Jesus Trail’ or the ‘Gospel Trail’ has been opened to the public for hiking and camping. The trail connects the important places from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. It offers a surreal experience for devotees by offering them a profound and deeply personal experience of the route traversed by the Messiah years ago.
The trail begins in the ancient city of Nazareth, the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The closest airport to Nazareth is Tel Aviv. Throughout history, Nazareth has been home to a wide variety of people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. In the present day, Nazareth predominantly consists of Arab citizens of Israel and is the largest Arab city in Israel. The majority of its population are followers of the Islamic faith, while most of the others are followers of Christianity.
The Mount of Beatitudes
Winding across numerous places of importance from the life of Christ, the trail also takes hikers to the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
The best aspects of Jaffa must be its restaurants where traditional Israeli and Levantine cuisine like hummus, shawarma, shakshuka, kebab or falafel abound. Jaffa residents will swear that the best hummus you’ve ever tasted is sold here. Traditional Arabic cooking is prevalent as well. Great fish restaurants are scattered over the port city, alongside Romanian restaurants, European cafés, Tunisian bistros and several places that specialize in high-end fine dining. There are bars for the wine and cocktail lovers, and the bakeries in the city will cater to your dessert cravings.
Israeli artists have been living in Jaffa’s Old City for decades, and the newer generation have moved in to join them. The artisans here sell locally made ceramics as well as crafts, high-end wares and fair-trade items.
There are several museums and galleries of note to visit in Jaffa. This includes the Frank Meisler Gallery, the Uri Geller Museum, Ilana Goor Museum, the Iris Eshet Cohen Gallery, the Jaffa Art Salon and more. All of these have beautiful art and pieces of Jaffa’s history on display for curious art lovers and tourists.
DYNAMIC MIX OF CULTURES
Jaffa is populated by Jews, Christians and Muslims. The Tabeetha School, established in the 1800s offers education to people of every religion and sect. Jaffa is a center of cross-cultural heritage that strikes a balance to ease tensions between the several conflicting sects in Israel. The Jewish Community Center brings Jaffa residents together to share their food, music and traditions.
Jaffa’s heterogeneous mix of people and cultures make it perhaps of the most dynamic places on the planet. If you’re looking for a good time on your visit to Israel, Jaffa’s culture and the variety of attractions here make it the hottest spot you should stop by.
Photos: Dana Friedlander